Pilots let Districts Test-drive New Tech Before Large Investments
- Becky Oristaglio, a speech and language pathologist at Central Falls School District in Rhode Island, writes for eSchool News that a pilot using classroom mics and speakers to amplify student and teacher voices quickly revealed the benefits for students with hearing impairments, learning disabilities and limited English proficiency.
- The pilot helped the district feel confident in purchasing the Redcat audio technology for more classrooms every year since 2010, a strategy also employed by the St. Clair R-XIII School District in Missouri.
- Assistant Superintendent Nadine Aitch writes a core group of “rock star teachers” piloted myON literacy software — their support helped convince other teachers to get on board, and it also provided the means for a train-the-trainer model of professional development.
Pilots are a great time to find out certain products are not right for a school community or provide a foundation for a successful tech initiative. Starting small means only the teachers who are most enthusiastic about a certain new technology will be able to use it. As excitement spreads throughout the school, so does the resource. Starting with a pilot and growing from there also provides time for high-quality professional development and training.
Other ed tech experts have said administrators should always ask how new technology is going to empower students before considering a purchase, and they should develop a strategic plan for technology to guide decision-making.
eSchool News: A tale of two pilots